Paul Simpson has called for a "shake-up" of Carlisle United’s academy - after saying it isn’t producing the goods.

Simpson spoke out after the Blues’ Under-18 team were knocked out of the FA Youth Cup after a 5-1 home defeat to Barnsley.

The manager says he has expressed concerns about the club’s youth set up for some time.

He said things simply have to get better, particularly in terms of recruitment, if the club is to progress.

Simpson issued his comments in response to the News & Star’s question as to whether he would consider using youth team players to fill Saturday’s squad in the FA Cup, given the absence of several senior players.

“The honest answer is no,” he said. “I think you have to earn the right to be involved in the first team.

“At this moment in time I think the academy needs a bit of a shake-up, because it’s not in a good state in my opinion.”

Asked to elaborate on his views, Simpson said: “The recruitment has to be better.

“We have to recruit better players from the [under] 9s through to [under] 16s so when they get to a full-time contract, they are better equipped to have a chance of being a professional footballer.

News and Star: Mark Birch's Under-18 side lost 5-1 to Barnsley in the FA Youth Cup first round on TuesdayMark Birch's Under-18 side lost 5-1 to Barnsley in the FA Youth Cup first round on Tuesday (Image: Ben Holmes)

“Because I think you look at [Tuesday] night’s game…I thought Barnsley were good, but there was a huge gulf.

“There were two League One sides, and yes they’re a Category 2 academy [Carlisle are Category 3] but the gulf was enormous.

“I will say, this isn’t something I’m going to be dealing with. I’ve made a mistake in the past in previous jobs where I’ve tried to sort the full football club out, and I’ve ended up losing my job because I take my eye off the first team.

“But this football club, if we’re going to get better, we have to have a better academy than what we’re producing at this moment in time.

“That might seem really harsh, but that’s me being totally honest.”

Simpson said he had raised his opinions with senior figures at the club.

He added: “It’s something I’ve talked about for quite a number of months now.

“I didn’t just sit [on Tuesday] night and think, ‘Wow, we’ve got a problem’.

“I’ve recognised we’ve got an issue that needs to be improved.

“When you look at the academy audit, on paper it looks very good, but the proof of the pudding is we’ve got to produce players for our first team.

“Carlisle United as a football club…we need players coming from our academy. If we haven’t recruited them properly at 9s, 10s, 14s, whatever it is, then it makes it really difficult at under-16.”